tv The Chris Matthews Show NBC January 3, 2010 10:00am-10:30am EST
>> this is "the chris matthews show." [captioning made possible by nbc universal] >> what's the story, mr. president? that you spend too much? too cool? too tough? too -- the nastiest narratives of 2010. to the democrats in conk at home, oh, yeah, and the dollar dies. and finally take a sad song and make it better. could this be the glory year when barack obama proves the great american president
pushing through health care, rallying the economy, getting things straight in afghanistan and getting free from iraq. chris: hi, i'm chris matthews. happy new year. katty kay is a bbc and washington correspondent. dan rather is global correspondent, john harris, is et tor in chief of the politico. helene cooper, white house correspondent. john, you came up with seven story lines that obama's critics are starting to push. avoiding those stories could well be his new year's resolution. giving the critics a storyline that he's plang with monopoly
game. >> another story line looks like he's yielding to nancy pelosi. looks likee's more interested of being president of the world? critic bill crystal says this -- >> obama is making us weaker. he tries to placate adversaries. >> this idea that he's somehow a global blowny guy. not too much of a good old yankee american. >> what he has chosen to emphasize in the early going has led to that perception. there's no doubt by favoring the wall street crowd that he fed into that whole thing. then talking about global warming, it all leads to this
perception. i think the perception is a problem for him. chris: tipping to the atlantic and not too homegrown. >> those two things i think are real problems for him in 2010. chris: do they sense that they have to be a little more heartland? >> i think they do. they got very upset about the storyline that they themselves help to create after his asia trip. he said i'm america's first pacific president. he struck a lot of conciliatory notes when he was china. japan and the united states don't want that story line. they push back a lot on that. they are a little bit skidish about that storyline. that's not one that they want to see out there. chris: that's funny. they wanted to be the country that's part or the world again. >> right? >> absolutely. and there is a difference
between the obama policy and the bush policy. they don't want to lose that america should lead the world. we set the agenda. if obama loses that and we saw it late last year when he accepted the noble prize, that fed into the storyline that he doesn't necessarily believe in american exceptionalism. it's more that i want to be president of the world. it's a very effective one. and i don't think -- i think that's a constant in american politic, people want the president to believe in america exceptionalism. chris: what do you think that this president is tilting to
the world? >> i'm always amazed by people's warmth towards me. at the the same time having a president who grew up in indonesia. this was always going to be a problem for barack obama. and people are weary. george bush used it an anti-american scentment. john kerry had to denyhe fact that he spoke french. you do have this kind of slightly sort of ambivalent attitude. >> what katty is saying is so true. there's no other country in the world that would let anybody move here -- and yet americans are still very skidish. it's so schizophrenic. chris: let's go back to, he's an old democratic liberal. is that a vulnerability for the president? >> i think it is. if you look at what happened in
the off year elections particularly in virginia, which is a classic swing state. if you look at what's happened to independent voters, a lot of it is driven by concern about the amount of spending, the size of the deficit. now we've got to be fair to barack obama. i don't think they've taken the credit for this. the $800 billion in stimulus. chris: that their punching bag. they keep hitting that $800 billion punching bag. >> america understand our core of our strength. there is that -- we're spinning ourselves into absolute
oblivion. this is where it comes into play. if barack obama gets tagged as "another big spending democratic liberal," then he's going to have more trouble in 2010. chris: i think there's a distinction between spending and spending. >> if you look at how pelosi is used. people are running campaigns where pelosi is the person they want to attack more than barack obama maybe because she's an easier target. she's overly more to the left. chris: but does she seem to be the boss? >> she's been more of a boss or more effective than many people thought she would be -- chris: is she calling the shots? >> she's the most effective player at least last year if 2009 in terms of getting legislation passed.
she's very effective. she's also very unpopular. our approval ratings are at dick cheney's level. wow want to be more popular than dick cheney. we start unemployment at 10%. how many people want to go back to a year ago and try the other half. chris: all the numbers are up. >> on both of these issues. he can turn this aren't. if allies come onboard and give things to america in concrete terms, then system of these storylines could be different at the end of these years. chris: let's take a look at the more afemoral ones. that obama's a push over. the passing of health care that was supposed to be done until last august and slipped all the way until now. and the white house is chicago
style very stuff. here's john boehner making this point . >> this chicago style politics is shutting down politics and demonizing. chris: how can he be both the problem? >> sure. president obama and the white house, may have a problem with that they've set themselves up. for instance, they've come out and saying that we're the most open white house. we're very open. we're releasing these visitor logs. blah, blah, blah, and the reality is, it's not that open. you saw what happened late last year when desiree rogers would not go and testify on cop to hill. you know there are so many different times where the white house has not been that open that's a storyline that could actually arm them.
chris: we'll be out of gitmo. we'll be out of this by august. >> particularly saying he would get the health care plan passed by august. we heard this when jack kennedy was president was those tough boston politics. with john, it was those cowboys coming in. they want to get results. and if it takes tough guys to get results, they'll applaud. if you don't get results -- >> better tough than a pushover. chris: we agree. >> chris, the problem is not toughness. i do think this white house is in someays more conventional than we were expecting. the chief of staff was quoted saying we're all campaign hack. i'm pro hack. we love hacks here in
washington. i do think a lot of people barack obama was going to be a mover in washington. chris: he's got these rules, no lobbyist, nobody can become a lobbyist. he's still sticking to some of this, right? >> yeah. his campaign hacks are going to play more. he's going to be a lot less capable because this is an eltion year to do a lot of the things of that he set out to do. >> one traction is whether the obama army turn out the in the midterms the way they did in virginia and new jersey last year. chris: before we break, let's go to "saturday night live" and how they prospered these last years by portraying democrats
wimps or worse. here's jimmy carter giving advice to michael dukakis in his 1988 campaign for president. >> i'm about to lose as bad as you did. maybe worse. how did you deal with it afterward? >> i accept the fact that i was a downer. a liberal downer. malaise liberal downer. >> jimmy, believe me, i understand. chris: the democrats, that's just one image. for al gore it was his nerdyness. >> now i want to pick up where we left off in our economic's textbook page 326. y'all are going to need to get your homework out. and you know, really, i was very disappointed on some of your performances on last
week's pop quiz. idaho, i'm looking in your direction. today we're going to focus on -- we're going to -- we need to tint -- come on, would you get out of here? >> ooh, sorry, teacher, are you on? >> yes, i'm on. >> let me get, internet blah, blah. i'm just kidding you. oh, by the way, we're out of beer. >> and john kerry. here was s.n.l.'s take on his problems with james carville coaching him back in 2004. >> john, we've got to get you more tough. you know what i'm saying? we've got to get you more republican. give you some edge. they say you're a flip flopper. what do you say about that. >> my voting record has many knew answers. >> well, i just fell asleep and
chris: welcome back. if he wants to end 2010 with a big comeback in the polls and a democric victory in the mid terms. barack obama new year's resolution could include some fixes to his image. in our first segment we talked about how he's giving his critics evidence that he's a lefty and that maybe he's not really a change agent. let's look at the storylines that are a bit more personal. politico expressed it, here he's giving his critics with two lines of attack. in love with the man in the
mirror. the president carrying a copy of "gentlemans quarterly" with him on the cover. too much mr. spock? here's what marine dod wrote about this one. helene, can this guy show more of his personality than that just cool, logical professor? >> if i was on the cover of "g.q." i would want to read it too. but he's definitely coming across as very cool. we were very curious during the' hood massacre late last year about how obama -- this is his first real role as the comforter in chief and how he would do with that. president clinton did very
well. he was able to empathy and sympathy. and george bush was able to do that very well after 9/11. president obama gave a very good speech at' hood. but he seemed a little bit more removed from it. we're seeing sort of the big bear hugs, which is on a political level -- chris: isn't that him? he is the cool guy. >> he's a very cool guy. he's very reserved. he's very level-headed. this is a lot of reasons why he likes that. people want a president who's not hot-headed. chris: i was impssed by the fact that he is too cool and he is very cool at the right times. he seems to have detachments at the right time. >> it would be a terrible mistake for him to try to project something that he's not. that would come across as inauthentic for hi politic.
people want a sense that our decisions are connected to -- chris: is he narcissistic. --? >> i think one photograph of him carrying "gq" is not a nar cyst. >> i think the coolness thing is it. i do people -- think people appreciate that he's temper mentally well suited at the presidency. they said the same thing about herbert hoover. i think the analytical coolness working -- works. from time to time the power of the president is a power to persuade. and to persuade you have to let people know, i really care
about this. analytically -- >> i think that's why we've seen joe biden on so many covers because joe biden has in spades that which barack obama is lacking, and the common touch that the white house -- >> there are o cages -- but the problems that the last time we've really seen himer moting like that was the race speech in philadelphia. that's probably why that speech was effective. chris: tell me something i don't know. be right back.
there is going to be a picture that we are coming home. chris: oh. that's news. >> dan? >> well, sticking to the afghanistan theme, one of the things to look for in this year is whether the opponents of america's mission and the nato mission there whether they are able to knock down helicopters and six-wing aircraft. iran has the kind of missile which would allow them to do that. the thing to look for this year is whether they can knock down a large transport plane. the military is concerned about that. and working on it but something to look for. chris: is that what they were telling you over there? >> yes. chris: helene. >> i think this is the year that they're going to not going
chris: welcome babbling. our big question this weekend -- back. our big question this weekend -- was his performance something that he can improve on? >> it's time for a bit of optimism, it's going get better. chris: dan rather? >> >> i wouldn't say abore ration. i think it will be better. >> i think this past year was pretty good actually. but i do think it will get better. >> we're grading on a curve 2009 compared to bill clinton's 1993. barack obama gets an a. he will get better. chris: 4-0. he will get better. thanks to a great round table. that's the show. thanks for watching. see you here, next week. captioned by the national captioning institute